Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DON'T MENTION THE WAR

The best part about beating the Germans again was that this time, we didn't have to stay behind and rebuild Europe.
I know it was 65 years ago, but tell me you didn't cringe or giggle or shift uncomfortably in your seat during last night's Canada-Germany Olympic hockey game every time play-by-play announcer Gord Miller said "Here come the Germans," "Germany is on the counterattack" or "The Germans are knocking at the door."
Starting a couple of world wars within 25 years of each other has a way of saddling you with an image and a reputation that tends to resurface every once in a while, regardless of context and the passage of time.
I'm not making the point as a means of fomenting hostility against modern Germany, nor to make light of a war of aggression and genocide that was the defining life experience for people who still live among us. Whether military veterans, civilians or Holocaust survivors, they more than anyone are probably struck by the irony of Germany once again going "into battle" against historic foes.
The good news is that even though we've fought each other in two world wars, Canadians and Germans don't have a genuine hate on for each other, and the aforementioned sense of irony isn't accompanied by any measurable degree of hostility. If you want hockey rivalries rooted in palpable antipathy, try Finland and Russia or Russia versus the Czech Republic or the Russians and anyone whose country they invaded and/or occupied during the Soviet era. Canada versus the US or Finland against Sweden can both get chippy by times, but seldom if ever to the point of outright malevolence. The Swiss, as usual, have no significant rivals, and as relative also-rans on the international hockey stage, neither do the Germans.
Of course, soccer is an entirely different story. Listen to the play-by-play in any language during a major international match between rival European countries and you'd think it's still 1945. I don't know whether the Brits are the worst offenders or if it's just that I have a much stronger command of English than I do of any other language, but British bias against the Germans, French and Italians during the World Cup or the European championships is laughable. I'm told by people with more linguistic range than my own that the same is true of national broadcasters from other countries.
Happily for mankind, we seem to be evolving to the point where hostility between nations is confined to the sporting arena, and we've come up with formulas and mechanisms that allow us to more often than not settle political or diplomatic disputes without having to resort to armed global conflict.
Now, if we can just come up with a blueprint for reconciling religious differences...

4 comments:

  1. Russia 6

    Canada 2

    ReplyDelete
  2. brian says...

    Canada 5 - russia 3

    crosby 3pts,

    ReplyDelete
  3. oops..

    I meant canada 7 / russia 3...

    Brian.

    ReplyDelete